World Environment Dayby Suzanne Milne on 05/06/2015
Every day is World Environment Day, right? But officially WED takes place every year on June 5. So to celebrate, we’ve put together an alphabet of actions you can take to improve the planet for your offspring… adapted from and inspired by the World Environment Day’s own A to Z!
A is for lights, camera, “Action!” Get kids to make a movie all about their environment and just how important it is to them. From the littlest of toddlers to the coolest of tweens, you can be sure they have something to say about their precious planet. Once the movie has been made, upload it to the WED website here.
B is for Better Bags Instead of all those annoying (not to mention unhealthy) plastic bags from the grocery store, isn’t it time to prepare yourself with some super-duper teensy-tiny (at least when they’re folded up) environmentally friendly bags instead. Take a look at 12 We Love… Eco Shopping Bags.
C is for Community Collection Next time there is a ‘large waste’ neighbourhood collection, take a walk or a ride around your neighbourhood to see what you might actually want that someone else has no use for. The less waste we throw into landfills, the less harmful greenhouse gases are released into the planet’s warming atmosphere. You never know what you might uncover; we had a collection in our neighbourhood (in Sydney, Australia) a few months ago and the result of our wanderings was to find a fully functioning Yamaha piano. Every note worked, the inside frame was perfect, and it was in tune (mostly…). Within half an hour of getting it in our front door, there was a tropical downpour – an amazing instrument had just been saved from an astoundingly wasteful end.
D is for Do It Yourself Designs Find old maps, magazines or newspapers to make wrapping papers for gifts, then have the kids splatter, paint and dye the papers before drying, then tying the gift with a beautiful ribbon (which can be recycled yet again).
E is for Environmental Exploration Take a tour of your local environment and find the greenest (or bluest, if you live near the ocean) destinations, then start a project recording just what is going on in that environment so you can report in at next year’s World Evironment Day.
F is for your Family Footprint Log on to The Footprint Network and learn how you can make your family’s as small as possible.
G is for Glorious Gardens Begin a garden with some beautiful flowers (take an amble through our A to Z of Flowers to see what inspires your child), then move on to vegetables, and – if space permits – a favourite fruit tree for each of your children. Even if you don’t have a garden, there are some incredibly fun ways to bring a garden indoors.
H is for Happy Planet Day Discover how a green carbon footprint is one of the key ingredients on the Happy Planet Index.
I is for Instagram Show us all how you celebrated the day with tags #WED2015 #WorldEnvironmentDay. And make sure you tag us too #LittleStyleFile so we can feature you in our WED2015 update.
J is for Join us at MyLittleStyleFile and learn about new brands that are trying to change the world, one product at a time.
K is for Keepsakes Instead of buying products that are here today, gone tomorrow, invest in toys, books and furniture for your home and family that will be passed down through the generations.
L is for Launch something Local Start a community event in your neighbourhood that will help your local environment, whether it is an art competition featuring your local environment, a music festival with acoustic musicians, or even a flower festival featuring brilliant plants for local gardens.
M is for Make One Change Try and do everything at once, and it feels overwhelming. Instead just make one change at a time – whether it is changing your lightbulbs to a more energy efficient model, moving the washing machine gauge to automatically use cold cycle, or changing your mode of transportation one day a week to utilise public transport.
N is for No Electricity Night After the recent storms around Sydney, our family has discovered the magic of having one night a week where we ‘lose’ our power for the night. We get to tell stories in the dark, light candles (and blow them out), and all go to bed terribly early… and no one seems to mind at all.
O is for Organic Origins There have been some incredible studies recently about the benefits of eating organic food, so make it your mission to find local stores that offer organic produce, then select five ingredients to replace on your family’s shopping list.
P is for Parks Visit a National Park near you – not only will it remind you of just how important our natural environment is, your children will remember the visit for years to come, if not forever. Take a look at these 250 destinations around the world for a little inspiration…
Q is for Q&As Encourage your children to ask questions about energy and power – how do we get it, where does it come from, how does the creation and use of energy impact our planet? Then start to find out some Answers – can we do anything to change where we get our energy from and are there ways to minimise how much we use?
R is for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Start a star chart for all the family that records each time you reduce your consumption, reuse objects in new and creative ways, and recycle products to ensure they won’t be going into landfill waste. Give yourself a goal and make it something all the family will want to achieve with a reward you all get to enjoy at the end.
S is for the Save the Sea Covering about 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface, the oceans and seas of the world are critically important to the health of our environment. Water takes around 1000 years to travel around the whole globe, but is all part of one big ecosystem and half the oxygen we breathe is produced in the ocean. Plastics only came into widespread use after 1945, nonetheless, they can now be found in every marine environment – from the seafloor to the surface. Take a look at this video about one initiative that is working to restore marine biodiversity…
T is for Take Off A Green Passport offers really great ideas for more earth-friendly ways to travel, from planning your trip and packing your suitcase, to hotel living, camping and guides on how to tour local areas.
U is for Us and Understanding our Universe We are all on this planet together. Even though the world has been divided into countries, political regions and religious factions, the reality is that we are really one big ‘chaotic’ planetary equation. So how can we help the next generation build bonds that can connect the world into a more harmonious whole in the future?
V is for Virtual Visits When did you last visit your nearest botanic garden, aquarium or observatory? If it is just too, too much effort, there’s always the option of some virtual viewing. Take a look at these options: Amazing Botanical Gardens & National Parks | Monterey Aquarium | Virtual Visits to Observatories (courtesy of Harvard).
W is for Water Make up a checklist – or use this one here, then have children check around the house for anything that is leaking. Set a timer for showers: who can get perfectly clean before the timer runs out?. And, when brushing teeth, take turns being the one to turn off the tap.
X is for Xeriscape (OK, this one’s a bit technical, but I hate Xs that don’t really say anything) This is a great landscaping method that has been designed to conserve water in arid regions by using plants that require little water and efficient irrigation techniques, And Xeriscape gardens can be pretty stunning too. Look at these examples here…
Y is for You – individual actions are the only way we will ever make a difference. So remember just how important you are to this mission.
Z is for Zero Is it possible to have a zero carbon footprint? Maybe the world has been waiting for a documentary from a youthful environmental ambassador on how to make zero an achievable goal for your family. Here are some ways you can start your journey to zero today.